Help! We’re stuck in the midlife dat­ing desert

Women in their 50s find it hard­est to meet a match... so do you know a man to help our ma­rooned midlif­ers?

Daily Mail - - Femailmaga­zine - by Alana Kirk

WHILe run­ning this col­umn, I’ve no­ticed it’s women over 50 who strug­gle the most to find love. Yet, re­search shows there are more than seven mil­lion sin­gles aged 50-plus in the UK, and more of these than ever are us­ing on­line dat­ing ser­vices — in­clud­ing new plat­forms aimed solely at them.

So why are women still ma­rooned in a dat­ing desert? Here, two ex­tremely el­i­gi­ble fiftysome­thing women re­veal their rocky search for ro­mance. . .

‘I think I scrub up nicely’

anne agoren is 58 and lives in Colch­ester, es­sex. She is di­vorced and works as an of­fice man­ager for a con­struc­tion com­pany. She says:

MAYBe I look in the wrong places but, at my age, where does some­one like me go to meet peo­ple — I don’t hang out in trendy wine bars all the time.

I have tried on­line dat­ing but found it dif­fi­cult, and in four years have dated just two men more than once.

on dat­ing apps Tin­der or Bum­ble, many pro­files are un­ap­peal­ing. Those men I’ve seen I’ve found to be ei­ther ly­ing, to­tal play­ers, or they buy me a drink and expect me to go straight home with them. They don’t tell you they’re only 5ft 6in un­til they ar­rive, or they lie about their age, or about be­ing sol­vent. They say they drive a BMW, then turn up in a bat­tered old car.

one guy told me he owned his own home — it turned out to be a car­a­van. An­other said he owned a com­pany and had won the Lot­tery. When things didn’t add up I called the firm — he was one of their long-dis­tance driv­ers!

I’ve been mar­ried twice, once to the fa­ther of my chil­dren and then to a man 14 years younger than me for al­most ten years. I worked in New York for seven, but re­turned home four years ago to be with my fam­ily.

It was hard at first as I had few friends left in Colch­ester, and had to spend time find­ing a home, a job and get­ting set­tled.

I have my own home, am mort­gage free, drive a new Audi TT and I have a great job. So all I need is the ro­mance. My celebrity crush is Bruce Wil­lis, so I’m not even after the cliched tall, dark and hand­some man.

I think I scrub up nicely — I’ve taken care of my­self all my life. I work hard, smile a lot and friends say I de­serve a man who can treat me kindly and love me for who I am.

I re­cently be­gan to play golf (badly, I has­ten to add!) and go to boxing train­ing, which is fab­u­lous fun. Sadly though, I never seem to meet men while I’m out en­joy­ing my­self.

I want some­one kind, well man­nered, thought­ful... and at­trac­tive. I’m not a shal­low per­son, but be­cause I’m fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent I would like him to be, too.

I want some­one with a zest for life, who wants to travel — if only to the coast for the day to eat fish and chips out of pa­per — will hold my hand, likes to try new things and most of all, will spend the next chap­ter of life with me.

I think I’m kind and thought­ful. I’m happy in T-shirt and jeans at home, or out in high heels and a lovely dress. I be­lieve in love and hope one day my knight in shining ar­mour will come. At this rate I guess I’ll just have to keep look­ing and hop­ing the man of my dreams is shop­ping in Sains­bury’s at the same time as me!

‘They just want sex’

He­len Un­der­woodCald­well, 51, lives in Kingston upon Thames, Sur­rey. She is a per­sonal trainer, and pi­lates and spin in­struc­tor. She says:

I’ve tried look­ing for ro­mance on­line but it is really chal­leng­ing at my age be­cause I tend to get mes­saged by a lot of younger men. Hear­ing from young chaps was ini­tially flat­ter­ing and fun, but I’ve got the im­pres­sion they are only look­ing for ca­sual sex so I haven’t both­ered with them.

I want to meet a con­tem­po­rary. I’m quite old fash­ioned and liked the good old days when you were wined and dined, rather than sent a sug­ges­tive text mes­sage.

Be­cause of my work as a per­sonal trainer, I’m in good shape for my age, and a gym reg­u­lar. But I don’t meet men there — they’re usu­ally too busy look­ing at them­selves in the mir­ror.

I am search­ing for some­one who is fit and takes pride in his ap­pear­ance so prefer­ably slightly younger, maybe in his 40s. I find many men my age seem older than me, but I don’t want to date some­one ten years younger.

When I tried dat­ing sites, such as Plenty of Fish and Tin­der, I also got mes­sages from mar­ried men, or fake pro­files — where some pic­tures really didn’t match the age that was given. You end up on sev­eral sites and it’s just all the same faces. I get de­pressed sometimes, as it feels like a dat­ing desert at this age. Younger men just want sex, and older men want a carer. But I want a mean­ing­ful and ad­ven­tur­ous re­la­tion­ship. For this rea­son I was really in­ter­ested in the Lu­men dat­ing app for the over-50s. It sounded a bit more se­lec­tive, fo­cused on men my age and the site checks pic­tures, so at least you know they are real. It seemed more hon­est.

HoW­ever,

when I joined, I found it ab­so­lutely shock­ing. I mean no dis­re­spect to the peo­ple on there, but as some­one who is fi­nan­cially se­cure, has a great ca­reer and would like to meet some­one who is too, I found most of the men ei­ther un­em­ployed, or earning a lot less than me, based on the jobs listed in their pro­files.

There’s noth­ing wrong with that ob­vi­ously, but where are the peo­ple on my in­come level? And some of them in the pic­tures looked like they could have been in po­lice line-ups, and many were half-dressed!

I got lots of mes­sages, but mostly along the lines of, ‘oh your body is amaz­ing, where have you been all my life?’

But I’m look­ing for a man in­ter­ested in all of me and who can en­gage in good con­ver­sa­tion. I looked at a hun­dred men, and couldn’t find one to mes­sage!

I feel I am an at­trac­tive and in­tel­li­gent woman with a lot to of­fer, but el­i­gi­ble men over­look me for a younger model. Much older men are in­ter­ested, but are not vi­tal enough for me.

It seems like there is a real gap for women like me, and it’s dispir­it­ing.

I just don’t know where to find an at­trac­tive, sin­gle, fi­nan­cially sta­ble man who has some­thing to say for him­self.

ANNE 58

HE­LEN 51

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